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Could N.Y. ruling affect a Cambridge soda ban?

After a New York judge struck down a ban on supersize soft drinks in New York, legal experts said the ruling could affect other cities’ attempts to restrict jumbo sugary beverages, including Cambridge.

The ruling determined that the New York City Department of Health overstepped its bounds in ordering restaurants, movie theaters, and sports stadiums to restrict the size of the sugar-sweetened sodas they sell to no more than 16 ounces. The ban should have been voted on by the City Council, the judge ruled, and the size limit seemed arbitrary because it did not apply to other sweetened drinks such as coffee, or to large-serving sizes from convenience or drug stores.

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A coalition of groups launched the challenge to the New York ban, and there’s no reason to believe they would shy away from filing in other venues, though the reasoning that led to the rejection in New York may not apply elsewhere.

“[T]he New York decision is based on New York administrative law principles,” said Wendy Parmet, a professor at Northeastern University School of Law who specializes in public health law. “It’s really not a decision that says that government can’t do this but that under New York law, the city board of health couldn’t do it the way they did it.”

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